Profiles of Innovative State Programs: New Jersey - IAQ in School Workplaces

New Jersey law establishes a framework for regulating safety and health in public workplaces throughout the state. Pursuant to this law, the state has adopted a regulation focused specifically on indoor air quality in public workplaces. Known as the Indoor Air Quality Standard, the regulation requires employers to take specific actions in areas such as ventilation and HVAC maintenance, moisture control, and renovation of occupied buildings. The Standard also directs employers to submit a written plan for compliance and to appoint and train a “designated person” to be responsible for compliance with the Standard. As part of this regulatory initiative, the Department of Health has created a variety of materials which may be useful to health and safety officials, public employers, and public employees in other states.

Why is this Program Important?

Across the U.S., many people spend their days in public workplaces, including about 55 million children and 8 million adults who attend or work in public schools. The quality of the air inside these buildings may be affected by a variety of pollutants and by building conditions such as dampness and inadequate ventilation. A wide range of health consequences are associated with exposure to indoor pollutants (e.g., respiratory symptoms and disease, headaches, fatigue), and indoor environmental conditions can affect office and school performance. Preventing and fixing IAQ problems can help school districts and other employers reap financial benefits by reducing absenteeism and avoiding the large costs often associated with deferred maintenance.

What Materials Have Been Developed Under the Program?

The Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH) Program at the N.J. Department of Health has created a web page with numerous informational resources related to the Indoor Air Quality Standard. The Program has developed an IAQ Public Employer's Guide and Model Written Program to assist employers in complying with the Standard. Other documents include an IAQ Inspection Checklist, Inspection Guidance, Sample Preventive Maintenance Log, Sample Renovation/Construction Project IAQ Compliance Checklist, and training materials for the “designated persons” responsible for ensuring compliance. Although these resources track the specific requirements in New Jersey’s regulatory Indoor Air Quality Standard, they are fairly broad in scope and can be used or adapted by other jurisdictions that address IAQ in schools and other public workplaces.

How Can You Learn More?

Visit the New Jersey PEOSH Program’s Indoor Air Quality Standard web page.